Best Menswear Designers

stylish male model in suit

Are you interested in finding out who are the best menswear designers? Staying on top of the world of fashion can be a full-time job, but that's part of the fun. There are endless designers who strive to be the best but only a few receive this distinction.

GQ's Yearly Best Menswear Designers

Gentleman's Quarterly has been nominating a new crop of the best menswear designers every year since 2006. These designers are selected by the editors and showcased in pictorials in the magazine and currently on the web. Like many fashion shows, some of the outfits seem way out of touch with everyday fashion. However, that's the purpose of designers: to push the fashion boundaries and inspire change in the world of menswear. The variety of styles also appeals to a wide spectrum of males. Take the 2010 nominees:

  • Designers Doug and Ben Burkman with Burkman Bros
  • Eunice Lee with Unis
  • Vincent Flumiani with Caulfield Preparatory
  • Frank Muytjens with J.Crew menswear
  • Billy Reid who ended up selected as best designer in 2010
  • Richard Chai

A look at the various styles shows quickly that these designers use vastly different palettes. The Burkman Brothers and Richard Chai have a strong rustic aura to their fall lines, with nods towards the rough trades of the seaman and the lumberjack or hunter. Frank Muytiens, on the other hand, has a much more urban and business-shaped tone to his work, with many vests, accessorized glasses and neckties. Eunice Lee echoes some of this style, but also goes into what some have termed the "Night Watch" (as coined by Saks 5th Avenue for their 2010 line). This style is darker, a sort of combination of cyber-punk and gothic themes with simplified lines and block fabric textures.

Other New Ideas

Of course, GQ and Saks are not the ultimate arbiters of style. There are always new designers who are coming to the forefront, often through organizations such as Not Just a Label. This group is designed to showcase the " avant-garde fashion designers of today" and nurture "the upcoming talents of tomorrow" and are featured in fashion periodicals such as The SpotLight. The 2009 "best" designers are a good example of the true diversity of menswear, from the futuristic tones of Ute Ploier to the dark western motif of Rach Heuston.

The Best of the Best

There are designers and names that have stood the test of time and remained at the forefront of fashion and style for men. Often these designers become labels of their own, working with other artisans, but the original names were designers in their own right.

  • Kenneth Cole started as a shoemaker and expanded his craft and aesthetical style to bags, belts and now menswear that has an urban chic all over the world.
  • Hugo Boss also came from humble beginnings, making raincoats in Germany in 1923. Thirty years later he began designing men's suits as well as bad-weather gear, and his classic three-button suit is considered a must for every man's wardrobe.
  • Giorgio Armani has become synonymous with "luxury", and is one of the most imitated styles in the world. While he started in menswear, Armani women's wear has also become a standard worldwide.
  • Ralph Lauren (remember to put the accent on the first syllable of his name) brings a classic American style to the list of great designers. His Polo line remains one of the most iconic looks ever created.
  • Burberry is famous for water-resistant "gabardine" suits first created in England. The signature plaid materials are used for both sportswear and bespoke suits as well as outerwear. While not avant-garde by any means, the tradition of Burberry gives an aura of sophistication to the wearer.

You can buy any of these lines from a wide variety of both online and brick-and-mortar stores. However, to have the true experience of well-designed menswear you need to make sure you have it tailored to fit your body. Taking the time to get the right fit from a quality designer can change not only your entire look but also the entire experience of wearing men's clothing.

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Best Menswear Designers